STAR TREK
Music composed by Michael Giacchino
Label: Varèse Sarabande
Catalog:
302 066 966 2

Year: 2009
Tracks:

1. Star Trek
2. Nailin' The Kelvin
3. Labor Of Love
4. Hella Bar Talk
5. Enterprising Young Men
6. Nero Sighted
7. Nice To Meld You
8. Run And Shoot Offense
9. Does It Still Mcfly?
10. Nero Death Experience
11. Nero Fiddles, Narada Burns
12. Back From Black
13. That New Car Smell
14. To Boldly Go *
15. End Credits *
* = contains theme from "Star Trek" TV Series, Written by Alexander Courage


Total Time: 44:54
Rating:


Reviewed by
Tom Hoover

 
Not since the Star Wars prequels has there been a science fiction score as eagerly anticipated as Michael Giacchino's Star Trek. J.J. Abrams has retooled the saga for a younger generation and this score by Giacchino reflects that cinematic vision. This (first) release from the renewed franchise offers 45 minutes of score and presents a new frontier for the music of Trek. The only existing theme that is represented hails from the original television series itself and even that doesn't emerge until the End Credits. Essentially, the material is brand new Giacchino fare.

What did I think about the new music of Star Trek? Well truthfully, it felt like I was listening to one of Giacchino's Medal of Honor scores. That was my first impression of his work on this. When you listen to music from iconic film lore, there are certain things you expect. The first element, at least for me, is that the music should pull the listener into the universe for which it is written for and should be unmistakably specific. In other words, cue up any track from Williams' Star Wars or Goldsmith's Trek scores and you immediately know where the music is based in.

For Giacchino's interpretation, I never got the sense that I had entered the Star Trek universe, at least not for the bulk of the album. It honestly felt like I was listening to a really sharp, entertaining action score which could have been slotted into any modern setting. I guess J.J. Abrams wasn't kidding around when he said that his team didn't set out to create a Star Trek experience that fans would be familiar with! The problem is, there isn't anything new that breaks through with Giacchino's score to make it as memorable as one might have hoped.

The key to enjoying this album is to unlink it from the Star Trek memories of yesteryear. With all my critique aside, Giacchino has produced an above average score that is full of interesting textures and spirited drama. The main theme is uplifting to a point but never crosses the line toward majesty. Thus, disassociating this 2009 main theme from the works of Goldsmith, Horner and Courage is your best bet as you explore this album. With one exception, that is...

The "End Credits" suite on this album is simply breathtaking. In it, Giacchino calls upon Courage's original Star Trek theme and integrates it with his own new material. The power and beauty of the original theme is heard climactically through this interpretation, ushering in both fond memories of the past and hopeful wishes for new adventures. These are the moments in the score that produced a sincerely sentimental moment for me, an original Trek fan, and made for a delightful send off. It also added a sorely needed association to Giacchino's new music with that of the existing saga. Without this merging, this album would not have cut it as a Star Trek specific score, in my opinion.

Michael Giacchino's Star Trek is simply a nice score that is greatly enhanced by the use of Alexander Courage's theme in the finale. While I'm sure that you will enjoy the finesse and energy leading up to the conclusion, the overall score just doesn't give off the vibe of a vintage Trek experience. But I suppose that's what was intended.

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